Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Happy New Year!

It's not too late to wish everyone a Happy New Year, right? Not when it's still some 2 weeks more till Chinese New Year, right..?? 
Remember the ominous predictions of the movie 2012? Put on top of that is the fact that, come Jan 23, it will be the Year of the Water Dragon - supposedly an "eventful" year. Whatever that means.
Anyway,  I look forward to an interesting year. My son is now a lower primary prefect and it seems - from the way he is taking to this new job - he is relishing the fact that he will play a part in instilling discipline among his peers and juniors.. hehe.
His elder sibling - the female teenager - is now a an active participant of DeviantArt  (and online community of artists and those devoted to art. Digital art, skin art, themes, wallpaper art, traditional art, photography, poetry / prose) and is finally feeling some sense of belonging with some likeminded people - although online (hopefully offline too). Do check her drawing and writing out; she uses the name Digimon12.
Life continues - with all the challenges of being an employee, household manager, life coach (! ahahahaaa..I need one myself, I think), daughter, mother, cousin, niece, wife, sister etc and finding more about myself  and trying to improve myself as an individual.
Talking about challenges as a woman, there is one  in the long list of people whom I have interviewed, who I admire because she seems to be on top of her game - no matter what life throws at her. Her name is Diane Bryant and is the CIO of Intel, whom I had the opportunity to meet in 2010. A mother, holder of a number of patents, mother, PTA member (at the time of interview).. Boy, was she inspring.
I'd like to share with you the story I wrote based on the interview that was held at the Intel Penang facility. To me, it's still highly relevant . I'm sure she will inspire you too.  Enjoy and have a good year!
Headline: Growing with the company
Publication: NST
Date of publication: Jul 26, 2010
Section heading: Life & Times
Page number: 008
Byline / Author: By Rozana Sani

As a top-level executive at one of the world's biggest IT companies, Diane Bryant has the world at her feet. She tells ROZANA SANI how she does it

LONG flights across the globe and jam-packed daily schedules would wear down just about anyone, but Diane Bryant doesn't seem affected.

Despite having a busy morning and a slew of meetings the day before at Intel's Penang facility, the chief information officer of Intel Corporation is just bristling with infectious enthusiasm and energy.

A veteran at Intel, having spent more than 20 years in the company after graduating from UC Davis in Sacramento, California, with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, Bryant's career climb in the company can be attributed to her positive attitude and passion for her work.

A rarity in terms of company loyalty and breaking the glass ceiling in a fast-paced industry, Bryant holds four American patents, and counts among her many contributions to Intel her involvement in the development of mobile PCs in the early 1990s.

She's held the posts of general manager of Intel's Server Platforms Group, director of the Corporate Platform Office, and general manager of the Enterprise Processor Division responsible for the architecture, design and delivery of Intel's Xeon and Itanium processor families.

Before joining the Enterprise group in 1998, Bryant was director of engineering of the Mobile Products Group responsible for Intel's mobile processors and chipsets.

Today, she heads Intel's worldwide IT organisation which employs 6,300 people, of which 550 are based in Malaysia.

The road less travelled

The journey for Bryant began at 18 when she left high school. She was pretty much the captain of her own destiny.

"I was always a good math and science student, but my family did not have money so nobody expected me to go to college. I enrolled myself into the local community college in Sacramento and kept taking physics, chemistry and calculus," she says.

One day, a fellow student asked her what her major was. She said she was "undeclared", a term used for those who were not sure what to major in.

"He told me I should be an engineer because engineers are the highest paid among fresh graduates. So I changed my major to engineering even though I had no clue as to what it was," she says.

When Bryant completed the programme, she applied for a scholarship to go to university.

"The interviewer asked whether I was a software or hardware engineer. Nobody told me there were two types! I went ahead and says software. Then he says, 'too bad, we're hiring hardware engineers'.

"That's why I ended up becoming a hardware engineer," she says.

In 1985, after graduating from UC Davis as an electrical engineer, Bryant was swamped with 11 job offers.

"That was because I was a woman engineer and everyone was looking to build their 'technical woman base'. I chose Intel, a small company at the time, because it was in my hometown so that I could be close to my mother," she says.

And her stint at UC Davis prepared her well for Intel in terms of male-female work population.

"College was a shock - my class of 100 only had six women students. It taught me what it was like being a minority. When I joined Intel, I wanted to be a darn good engineer, not just a woman engineer. I wanted to earn merit based on ability and not because I was a woman," says Bryant.

And since then, she has grown with the company. "My scope and responsibility grew with the company. I took advantage of the company growth for my career advancement. What's keeping me at Intel is its culture. Employees are rewarded based on performance. It is very fair and as a minority - a woman - fair is important. The system and structure will reward you fairly. It is hard to be pulled away from a work environment like this," she says.

Getting more technical women in

Getting technical women into the company continues to be a challenge at Intel today, if not more so, says Bryant.

"The biggest problem is market availability. When I entered the Intel workforce, 37 per cent of technical staff were women. Today, it has dropped to 18 per cent. Market availability is declining and at Intel, we spend a lot of time focusing on this issue," she says.

In general, 50 per cent of women constitute the job population in the United States, while 25 per cent of the workforce in technical/computer-related jobs constitute women.

"Women are just not choosing technology as a career path. Meanwhile, Intel is aiming to have more women aware that careers in technical and computer-related fields are rewarding.

"American schools show that women are just as strong in math and science. But women are opting not to take up computer science. We must raise the value of technology collectively. That's what we do at Intel," says Bryant.

Why is it important for women to get into IT?

"In IT, input from a diverse population is needed as a business driver. In the 1980s, it was the techy nerds who bought tech-related products and software.

"Today, with 5.5 billion people still not having access to the Net, there is a huge market out there who need applications that will better their lives. The growth areas are in countries like Asia and Latin America. Input from people from all walks of life is needed to understand and develop applications that will compel them to buy. Also, 80 per cent of home purchases are done by women." says Bryant.

Intel also provides women the flexibility needed for a work-home balance to make IT a more attractive field for them.

"Most women today still bear the brunt of running the household. While we all like to think ourselves as equal partners, it is the women who still take care of the children, buy the groceries, attend Parent-Teacher Association meetings, etc. And it is especially challenging when you're working in the fast-paced industry of IT. Over the years, many friends have dropped out when they found it hard to maintain the balance," says Bryant.

Intel, in recognising the challenges that women face and to sustain a pool of talent, has maintained a level of flexibility.

"You can take a leave of absence (say, a few years) when children are young and need their parents' attention. The company also has a network of women who can share lessons learnt. There is also a mentor pairing of senior women with younger women. Also important is a structured and family-like network that you can fall back on," she says.

But wouldn't stepping in and out of jobs affect career advancement?

"Advancement is based on contribution. Stepping out is a personal decision. The key here is having a company that welcomes you back. Of course, you need to be an achiever for the privilege. Intel will bend over backwards to take you back if you are one. Innovation is driven by smart people and the company's health and success correlates to your performance," she says.

Moving forward

The progress in IT is simply breathtaking, says Bryant.

"A few years ago, you had to go the library to do research on a certain topic but now simply searching on the Net will do the job. I want to see how this continues to progress. The next five billion to access the Net is a huge number. With solutions at hand and the fact that the world is 'flat', we'll see how the next billion will benefit from technology," she says.

Intel, Bryant says, is in her blood.

"I can't imagine retiring early. I want to grow in my contribution as a leader."

We may well be looking at the first woman CEO for Intel. Because when Bryant sets her mind on something, nothing is impossible.


  1. abis la anak kau nani buat body tatoo :) [eh komen ni utk sub-plot posting kau]

  2. zainal, kalau pakai inai arab hajjah jash bagi could be ok.. janji design lawa.